Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while encouraged by the rave reviews for the Wonder Woman movie.
*Good interviews with Pierre Lebrun and the Canadian GMs, so here’s the 1-on-1 with Peter Chiarelli discussing Jordan Eberle trade rumors and the upcoming extension talks for Connor McDavid. It will be interesting to see if the Bruins would have any interest in Eberle at this point as he’s regressed a bit, and even more interesting if the current Bruins management and Chiarelli could ever come together on a trade given the past history there.
*Talks are ongoing between the Vancouver Canucks and Ryan Miller, but Jim Benning has already stepped up and said that Jakob Markstrom is going to be the No. 1 goalie for Vancouver next season.
*A group of NHL insiders offers opinions about the Washington Capitals, and what they will do about Alex Ovechkin and trade rumors that have been left open by a qualified answer from their general manager.
*Since we can’t get enough of the Catfish-tossing Predators fan who won’t face criminal charges as it stands, here’s the complete saga for the Game 1 fish-tossing incident and the report on charges being dropped.
*Former NHL forward Scott Gomez, who did a nice job of TV analyst work during the playoffs, is headed to the New York Islanders as an assistant coach.
*Former Bruins defenseman Matt Irwin has found a home with the Nashville Predators after getting dumped a couple of games into his career in Boston and it looks like he might have had something to offer after all. That being said, Irwin was a stopgap player at best when he was with the Bruins and they were just as well it was just as well they moved on from him when they did at the beginning of last season.
*Carey Price is eligible for a contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens, and it’s expected that he’s going to set the NHL standard for goaltender contracts as the most important player on the Montreal roster. So the Tuukka Rask contract ($7 million per season) won’t look quite so weighty once Price has agreed to something with the Habs. The Bruins have that going for them, which is nice.
*Should we see automatic and mandatory suspensions in the NHL for head shots? Former Bruins center Marc Savard said he wants to see it happen and it with good reason in his case.
*For something completely different: A rough article to read going over the final days of Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell.
TORONTO – The Bruins will need to take a pivotal Game 4 without their best player as Patrice Bergeron is out for Thursday night’s playoff game at the Air Canada Centre with an upper body injury. Bergeron will be day-to-day moving forward, but that’s not going to help the B’s as they lose one piece of a forward line that’s dominated the Maple Leafs through the first three games of the series.
It’s really not a great sign when the Bruins had two days off in Toronto between Game 3 and Game 4, and Bergeron still wasn’t able to give it a go on Thursday night. Instead it will be Riley Nash centering the top line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and Tommy Wingels entering back into the lineup with No. 37 out of the lineup. There was a faint sign that something might be up with Bergeron when Riley Nash took some turns in his place at practice on Wednesday afternoon at Air Canada Centre, but no signal whatsoever that something was serious enough to keep him out of the lineup.
It goes without saying that the Bruins might be in big trouble if this Bergeron injury proves to be something that could cause him to miss multiple games in a best-of-seven series where the B’s currently hold a 2-1 lead. Bergeron had five assists and was a plus-4 rating in the first three games of the series with his line amassing 20 points in the first two games of the series.
Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 based on pregame warm-ups at the Air Canada Centre:
TORONTO – It looks like Matt Grzelcyk will be making his return to the Bruins lineup after a one-game absence with a lower body injury.
The Bruins rookie D-man took part in an optional skate at the Air Canada Centre for the Black and Gold on Thursday morning, and will be playing provided he gets through the pregame warm-ups without any hitches. A healthy Grzelcyk will replace Nick Holden in the B’s lineup and give Boston that puck-moving, fast-skating D-man that can be pretty effective counteracting a speedy, aggressive Toronto fourth line that’s been pretty good in the series thus far.
“He’s out there [skating] now, so he should be good to go. Obviously, it will be warm-ups and a game-time decision, but I anticipate he’ll go in,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He’s complemented well by his partner, who is usually [Adam] McQuaid or [Kevan] Miller. So you get a duo where he’s able to transition the puck very well by himself, and get out of some piles with the D-zone coverage and make a good first pass.
“He can track down pucks before defenses get set or during a line change, he’s good at getting it up [the ice] and seeing who is available. He’s very low risk generally in his game, and he does some very good things at the O-zone blue line to keep plays alive for us.”
The return of Grzelcyk appears to be the only change to the Bruins lineup ahead of a pivotal Game 4 made a little more intriguing by the NHL’s selection of South Boston native Chris Rooney as one of tonight’s referees (along with Gord Dwyer). Rooney has always carried the well-worn reputation of a referee that goes extra-hard on the Bruins to prove there isn’t a bias toward the hometown team, and the Bruins have a 7-9 record over the last three seasons in games officiated by Rooney. It’s not a main reason for the Bruins to either win or lose the game, but certainly something to keep an eye on as things unfold tonight in Toronto.
Here are the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Maple Leafs in Game 4 based on morning skate: